Slovak Ambassador: Cypriot parties want a solution
By Maria Myles--
Nicosia, Aug 26 (CNA) -- Cypriot parties from both sides of the divide do want
to settle the protracted Cyprus question, Slovak Ambassador here Dusan
Rozbora has said as he prepares to chair the last bicommunal meeting of
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parties before handing over this task to his
In an interview with CNA on the occasion of his departure from Cyprus to take up duties in Bratislava, he said the role of the parties in the months ahead, especially if a solution is reached, is pivotal in seeing the smooth implementation of what is agreed.|
Parties are due to meet on 4 September in the UN-controlled buffer zone, having had 21 meetings since the beginning of 1998.
"After six years in Cyprus I have come to the conclusion that a solution is possible. I do not think any party does not want a solution, they are working for a settlement and this is the importance of the bicommunal meetings we have been having," he said.
Replying to questions, he said over the years the parties discussed a lot of issues apart from the Cyprus question and the fact they were ready to discuss sensitive issues is very important because this provided the chance to exchange views and offer the other side food for thought.
He said one such issue is the differences that exist with regard to their evaluation and their views on the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, which both sides have signed and provide for the establishment of a bicommunal bizonal federation.
"There are differences, but not controversial differences or opposite views," he explained.
Rozbora said during these regular encounters party leaders discussed matters "in a good atmosphere" and referred to jovial conversations during the lunches he hosted for the participants of the bicommunal meetings.
"I am preparing the ground for the continuation of these meetings, so my successor can carry on the work," he said.
Asked how parties can contribute to the implementation of a solution, the Ambassador said "the positions of the parties are important, they are close to the highest authorities and to the people and therefore they can play a very important political role."
As for the ongoing UN-led peace talks, Rozbora said he was sad that "no significant progress has been achieved" after seven months of direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
On his country's and Cyprus' prospects for European Union membership, he told CNA it was important for both candidate countries to join and benefit from the Union, noting that existing cooperation will continue after accession as well.
As for bilateral ties, he said these are "excellent, we understand each other and there is no field in which we have problems with". However he noted that there is room for improvement in trade and said Slovakia would welcome an increased flow of Cypriot tourists.
The Slovak diplomat praised the role of some 280 Slovak peace-keepers currently serving with the UN on the island and said this is a confirmation of Slovakia's policy to contribute to peace keeping.
Rozbora said he is taking back home with him fond memories of Cyprus where he has made many friends, something that will accompany him for the rest of his life, as he said.
"I wish to return to Cyprus as often as I can and I wish to see the country reunited and a member of the EU," he said.
The Ambassador leaves in mid September.